Chris Elston, a Vancouver father known as “Billboard Chris,” and a dozen local supporters protested outside the Rainbow Room in Doylestown Wednesday.
The Rainbow Room, which receives taxpayer funding as well as support from Planned Parenthood, is a controversial organization claiming to serve LGBTQ+ youth ages 14 to 21. State Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) secured $630,000 in state funding for the Rainbow Room, which held a queer prom where gift bags with condoms, dental dams, and lubrication were handed out.
About 150 counterprotesters with colorful rainbow flags, attire, and signs, blared loud music to drown out Elston’s message.
Elston, who has two daughters, told DVJournal he quit his job to try to save his children from the transgender ideology that has taken hold in North America. He travels to protest and inform people that hormone blockers and surgery on minor children should not be permitted.
Elston tried to talk to the counterprotesters, telling them medical authorities in England and the Scandinavian countries have backed off allowing transgender surgery and hormone therapy on children “after finding there was no evidence to support transitioning children.”
He was told to “step off our private property” of Salem Church, which hosts the Rainbow Club. “Why do you think it’s okay to sterilize kids?” he countered.
“I’ve been traveling since September 2020, having conversations on the street,” said Elston. “I’ve probably spent 2,500 hours outside having conversations tens of thousands of times about what I consider to be the greatest child abuse scandal in history.”
He said that “300,000 kids in the United States have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria,” he said. “And they don’t even have real gender dysphoria. They’re just struggling. A lot of the kids have autism. About half of them are on the autism spectrum.” A survey of 1,000 kids in England with gender dysphoria showed 35 percent had autism. “But it’s kids who’ve suffered abuse or trauma. Sexual abuse is very common; kids in foster care are way overrepresented.”
“It’s all these kids who are struggling and self-loathing,” he said. “And now they’re being told, ‘It’s because you were born in the wrong body, which is an extraordinarily beastly thing to tell a child, that they were ‘born wrong’ and need to be the opposite sex. It’s insane. And they’re being given this chemical regimen of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries. And what are we doing, stopping the development of children?
“Historically, kids with gender dysphoria were a handful of the population. More than 80 percent just grew out of it. Puberty itself was the cure,” he said. “Now we’ve blocked the cure. And the majority of these kids, when it affected a handful, just grew up to be gay.” So, the transgender movement “is the most homophobic in the history of the world, in addition to all the other wrongs it’s doing,” he said.
Elston, asked why he was doing this, said, “I’m a dad. I have two girls. I started learning about this in 2019. I saw this term’ puberty blockers’ and said, ‘What the heck are those?’”
“As a dad of two girls, 8 and 10 at that time, I wanted to learn about this. I see it as a cult that’s permeated all of society, being pushed at the highest levels. It’s being pushed by governments, NGOs, TQ nonprofits, the World Health Organization, the U.N. And it’s all based on a lie…And I know we’re harming kids.”
“I’m not going to send my girls into a world that doesn’t know what a woman is,” he said. “A world that is trying to sex change children. We’ve got to put a stop to this.”
“I wasn’t going to say, ‘I knew all about this child abuse and wasn’t going to do anything about it,’” said Elston. “Freedom of speech is a large part of this. Everyone was so afraid to talk about this. Everyone has been cowed into silence. People have been fired from their jobs. People try to cancel them.”
Elston said he has been beaten, suffered a broken arm, and been arrested while protesting with his billboard in various places.
Plumsteadville resident Jona Franklin came to support Elston.
“It’s my community,” Franklin said. “I would like (children’s) innocence protected, and I don’t know that anything that is hyper-sexualizing children is healthy or safe. I don’t believe that children should ever make lifelong impacting decisions. And their parents’ rights should be protected.”
A Lower Merion mother who did not want her name used was carrying a sign saying, “Gender ideology does not belong in schools.” She took her own kids out of the Lower Merion School District.
“I feel strongly the kids are being taken advantage of, pushed really early, introducing it in first grade…Kids are disciplined and corrected as young as first grade if they ‘misgender’ their first-grade classmates.”
Philadelphian Yaakov Strasberg also came to the protest.
“I don’t think kids should have genital mutilation or hormone blockers that mess up their bodies,” he said. He noted that someone cannot drive until they are 16, buy alcohol until they are 21, or vote until they are 18. Taking hormones or having surgery is “something that affects your whole life.” However, it would be fine if they want to do that when they are adults, but “kids are easily influenced.”
“Morally and religiously, I’m against it,” said Strasberg.
Adam Gilbert-Cole, a member of Salem Church, said he volunteers to provide security for the Rainbow Room.
“We are here to support the teens of the Rainbow Room,” said Gilbert-Cole. Asked about children changing their gender, he said, “I’m in favor of teens having a conversation with their parents and their doctors because that is their right.”
When asked about school districts keeping a child’s wish to become the opposite sex a secret from their parents, he said he did not believe that happens. When DVJournal told him there is evidence that some districts do that, and it has been reported, Gilbert-Cole declined to speak further.